lou malnati's / chitown

Its been about 10 years since my last visit, but it didn't take me long to reacquaint myself with the great city of Chicago. Unlike dense east coast cities, Chicago allows you to stretch your legs on its extra wide boulevards and open spaces. This urban sprawl is accentuated by a topography that tries its hardest to convince you that the world is actually flat. Perhaps the accommodating landscape promotes a more polite attitude which is more common in the Midwest and less common in the pressure-cooker atmosphere that boils the aggressions of many urban dwellers on the east coast.

And then there's the pizza. You can't go wrong with a slice at Lombardi's in Soho, NYC or Lorenzo's on South St., Philadelphia, but paper-thin slices leave you craving for more. A slice of deep-dish Chicago style pizza is a meal in itself. When my cousin said he was taking me to Lou Malnati's, I thought he was involved in a secret society. But he assured me that this was the best pizzeria on the northside. The interior of its Lincolnwood location is an homage to the history of Chicago sports. Walls are adorned with vintage jerseys and photographs of local sports legends. The combination platter of mozzarella sticks, fried cheddar cubes, and breaded zucchini & mushrooms is a fried delight. The size of the platter was suprisingly moderate and was easily polished off by three people. Perhaps its a rare nod to quality over quantity...or maybe they're helping you leave space for their hearty pizzas.
We ordered a medium sized sausage pizza with the works - an assortment of veggies including onions, green peppers, sliced tomatoes and olives. All the ingredients create a masterful symphony of flavors in your mouth. Extra hearty as advertised and deliciously deserving of its hype. Whereas I could easily knock out 5-6 slices of local pizza, I hit the wall at 2 slices at Lou Malnati's. For dessert, we all shared a chocolate chip pizza - a baked cookie prepared in a deep-dish pizza pan topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Insanely rich and dangerously sweet.
I took 3 slices to go and it was by far the heaviest take out box that I have ever carried in my life. No lie. It felt like a 50 pound dumbell.


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